An open letter to "Steph" Curry of the Golden State Warriors from Jimal Mack the Great Grandson of Dr. "Jumpin' Johnny" Kline:
Dear Mr. Curry,
I write on behalf of my great grandfather, Dr. John Kline, who is the oldest living Harlem Globetrotter at age 85. There are so many parallels between you and him that I felt compelled to pen you a short note that hopefully will be of interest and concern. In his day, Jumpin' Johnny (as he was called) was, like you, the best player on the best professional basketball team of his era: the Harlem Globetrotters. Like your team today, they would never lose. In fact, that is the title of his autobiography, Never Lose, now in its third printing.
I wish that never losing had been the case for my great grandpa when he tried out for the Detroit Pistons in 1957.
Despite excelling, particularly in tandem with their best player, George Yardley, who went on that year to become the first NBA player to eclipse 2,000 points, Jumpin' Johnny was cut from the squad before the regular season opened. His coach, Charlie Eckman, had a difficult time telling him, as my great grandfather well recalls, and even said that if it were his decision-- and not the front office's-- he would have signed him on.
As a result, he was deprived of a handsome living and today receives no pension from the NBA.
Rather than seek some measure of "reparations", Dr. John recently sought employment once again at his golden age with the league as an historian-at-large and roving ambassador of the sport. Again, he was declined by the NBA and offered, instead, token concessions that had more to do with recognition-- he is already an honorary member of the Hall of Fame-- than they did with meaningful restitution of lost income and pension.
In conclusion, I write to you to see if you might conceive of a creative way toward righting the injustice in the same manner as your imaginative play on the hard court.
As my great grandfather often says: there might be a statute of limitations regarding legal recourse, but there is no statute of limitations when it comes to human decency.
Thank you for your time and consideration.